Your streets are covered in filthy fly-tipped rubbish because of organised crime gangs posing as clean-up firms

Your streets are covered in filthy fly-tipped rubbish because of organised crime gangs posing as clean-up firms

February 13, 2020

ORGANISED crime gangs posing as clean-up firms are being blamed for the rise of fly-tipping incidents across England.

Experts said fake firms hired out buildings to dump clients' rubbish, costing local councils almost £60m in clean-up costs since 2012.

Councils dealt with more than a million fly-tipping incidents in England last year, up from 715,000 in 2012-13.

Sarah Lee, head of policy at Countryside Alliance, said harsher sentences were needed to crack down on the culprits.

She told the BBC: "You are now getting fake waste companies hiring out buildings, dumping waste in them, doing a runner and leaving it for landowners to dispose of the waste at huge cost to them."

She said criminals gangs will pose as legitimate waste disposal firms, advertising their services on the internet for a cost.

To try and identify and shame those responsible, a growing number of councils are using CCTV cameras to target known fly-tipping hotspots.

Footage of the fly-tippers is then uploaded to council-run "wall of shame" websites and YouTube.

Pockets of London and Manchester have been hit hardest by the rise in illegal waste removal services.

'OUT OF CONTROL'

Marc Lidderth, an area manager for the Environment Agency, told the BBC fly-tipping crime was "the new narcotics".

The National Farmers' Union described the situation as a "nightmare" that continued to "spiral out of control".

They explained how gangs use lock-cutting tools to break into private land and tip huge quantities of waste that can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to clean-up.

There have even been reports of criminals disguising household and business waste as plastic-wrapped hay, straw or silage bales and dumping it on farmland.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: "It's time for the new government to get serious on mass fly-tipping, make it harder for criminals to trade, and give local authorities the resources they need."

Last month the government announced plans to form a new "waste-police" unit.

This will bring together law enforcement agencies, environmental regulators, HMRC and the National Crime Agency to tackle fly-tipping.

Serious and organised waste crime is estimated to cost the UK economy at least £600million a year and a 2018 Home Office review found perpetrators are often involved in other serious criminal activity, including large scale fraud and in some cases modern slavery.

The new government unit will carry out site inspections, make arrests and prosecutions and, upon conviction, push for heavy fines and custodial sentences.


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